Provocative Devotion: Psalm 3

O Lord, how many are my foes!
    Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
    there is no salvation for him in God. Selah

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me,
    my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord,
    and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah

I lay down and slept;
    I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
    who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, O Lord!
    Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
    you break the teeth of the wicked.

Salvation belongs to the Lord;
    your blessing be on your people! Selah

David wrote this in a time of extreme personal pain. His son Absalom led a coup against David and sought to kill him and the rest of the family in order to take the throne of Israel. How on earth does one endure such a betrayal? This was not some upstart General leading part of the army against David, this was a son whom he loved. He did not grieve the loss of his kingdom so much as the loss of his son. It part of David died when the coup was put down and Absalom was killed.
In the midst of the ordeal, as he ran for his life, people jeered and mocked him. Not unlike how they jeered and mocked Jesus on the cross. How do you deal with such rejection and betrayal. In times like that it feels like even God has abandoned you. Or maybe it feels like you have wandered off and abandoned God and that is the reason for the pain and being so alone.
The solution to the pain of betrayal is not isolation, building a relational wall of protection. Rather the solution is to reach out all the more to God, to stretch my heart out even further and make it more vulnerable. It is only through the risk of pain, rejection, and betrayal that I can experience the joy and delight that can only come from connecting on the deepest heart level with another.
David stretched out his heart to God. He opened himself to God as never before and in that opening he found an anchor for his soul. He cried aloud to God. It was not the false solemnity of so many prayers that escaped David’s lips. His prayer to God was a cry from the heart. It was visceral, primal, angst. It was honest. It was born of pain. God would have it no other way. In his vulnerability David found that he had a shield that surrounded and protected him and he had a God who bent low to cradle David’s head in His hands and lift him up from the ground on which he wept. The risk was that God would turn a deaf ear to his cry. But better the risk than to hold it all in and miss the possibility of finding his strength and security.
Betrayal will happen. Disappointments will come. Pain is inevitable. Rejection is a fact of life. But through it all, there is the Lord who sustains me, lifts me, comforts me, and calls me His own.

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